This Southwestern Chicken Cavatappi bake features cavatappi pasta, roasted chicken, black beans, corn and salsa all smothered in a rich homemade pepper-jack cheese sauce. It's not only a family pleasing one-dish-meal but, it's like a sassy macaroni and cheese.
Southwestern Chicken Cavatappi
I'm a one-dish-meal fan. My family is just like yours between school, sports, friends and family our days are crazy busy and filled with extra-curricular activities. That's not a bad thing at all but, can make meal-time difficult some days. One-dish-meals keep life simple and in general they reheat well, if we find ourselves at the supper table at different times. Whether it's this cavatappi or chicken fettuccine, they're a win for mom.
Other Chicken and Pasta Casseroles You May Enjoy
Pasta isn't complicated to make plus, it's cost effective when you're feeding a family. Whether it's a skillet casserole like my Cajun chicken pasta with andouille or cheesy chicken spaghetti, both are family tested and approved. Kicked-up pasta dishes like this chicken cavatappi or Tex-Mex cavatappi from Food and Wine, they're a fantastic way to get vegetables into the mix, adding to the flavor without the kids protesting too much. It's a beautiful thing.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Southwestern Chicken Cavatappi
- 12 oz dry cavatappi pasta
- 5 Tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 3 cup milk
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ½ cup shredded pepper Jack cheese divided
- 3 Tbsp taco or fiesta seasoning i.e. McCormick
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 3 cup roughly chopped rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn with peppers thawed
- ½ cup thick and chunky salsa plus additional for serving
- 4 green onion sliced (Reserve 2 Tbsp for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in salted water per the package directions until al dente then drain well.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour. Cook over medium-high stirring until the flour has dissolved.
- Whisk in the garlic salt, pepper and 3 cups milk. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat ti medium-low whisking constantly. Allow to gently bubble for 5 minutes then add 2 cups cheese.
- Remove from the heat and stir until the cheese melts. Add the taco seasoning, ground cumin and oregano mixing well.
- Add the cooked pasta, chopped chicken, black beans, corn,and green onion to a large mixing bowl. Pour the sauce on top and mix well.
- Pour ½ into the baking dish. Dollop the salsa over the pasta, then sprinkle lightly with ¾ cup pepper Jack cheese. Top with the remaining pasta and finish the top with the last ¾ cup shredded cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until bubbly around the edge and the cheese is golden.
- Serve immediately garnished with green onion and with additional salsa on top, if desired. .
It's important to use a thick and chunky salsa either mild, medium or hot your preference.